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The Impact of World War Two on the ‘Handicapped’ Schoolchildren of England

By Susan Wheatcroft

Abstract

The experiences of children during World War Two have attracted considerable\ud attention, both scholarly and popular. Not all children however, have received equal\ud attention. ‘Handicapped’ children are conspicuous by their absence from all types of\ud literature, both on evacuation and on children’s experiences of World War Two. This\ud thesis restores these children to the story of wartime England and assesses their\ud experiences. It examines the plans that were made for their evacuation and how they\ud were carried out, and compares their lives, both individually and institutionally (i.e. in\ud the various types of ‘special’ schools) with those who, for various reasons, were not\ud evacuated. It also compares their experiences, to a lesser degree, with those of their\ud ‘non-handicapped’ counterparts. The thesis argues that for many ‘handicapped’\ud children it was a positive experience but one which depended on specific aspects, such\ud as the attitudes of the authorities and of the general public, and perhaps more\ud importantly, the attitudes and quality of the teaching and nursing staff, who were\ud responsible for the children on a daily basis. Finally, the thesis assesses the impact of\ud the war, and the children’s wartime experiences, on post-war social policy.\ud Contemporary, rather than present-day, language (i.e. ‘handicapped’ instead of\ud ‘disabled’) is used throughout the thesis. This is purely in order to avoid confusion and\ud in no way reflects the personal views of the author

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9948

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